| || It is hard to believe that this large village of 1,500 people played an important role in the sixteenth century. The hiding place of the Turkish pirate Mirale Bey, it was destroyed and rebuilt by the Portuguese, who then made it into a center for controlling tropical plantations from Lamu as far as Buur Gaabo, beyond the present border with Somalia. Today, echoes of its former splendor can be seen in its attractive macuti-roofed houses surrounded by mangroves, and in its mixed population of Bajun (the majority), Indonesians, Chinese, and Portuguese. The traditional dhows (small boats) now carry only tourists, but the past refuses to be buried beneath the present: the donkeys and bicycles, the absence of cars, and even the traditional fabrication of coconut fiber rope (the nuts are buried until they rot, and the fibers then washed and plaited) are all tiny details through which the past may be reborn.
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